Episode #13: Nature Vs Nurture
Original Airdate - 14th June, 2008

It's Thanksgiving as Aunt May Parker is released from the hospital, but Venom has no intention of letting May and Peter Parker enjoy a family celebration. Knowing all of Spider-Man's secrets – even some Pete isn't consciously aware of – Venom threatens to destroy Pete and everyone he loves most. Will Pete embrace his destiny in time to defeat this new arch-nemesis?
Written by Kevin Hopps
Directed by Victor Cook
Music by Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion
Animation By Dongwoo animation

Josh Keaton as Spider-Man/Peter Parker
Lacey Chabert as Gwen Stacy
Lacey Chabert as Gwen Stacy
Dorian Harewood as Doc Bromwell
Josh Lebar as Flash Thompson
Vanessa Marshall as Mary Jane Watson
Kevin Micheal Richardson as Tombstone
Grey Delisle as Sally Avril, Erin
Deborah Strang as May Parker
Alanna Ubach as Liz Allan
Phil Lamarr as Rand Robertson

Review: Arsenal - TIt’s not fair to call “Nature versus Nurture” bad.

It is competent—scripted, animated and performed well. It concludes season-long plotlines and throws in just enough of a hook to change the status quo for the next season.

Then, why does it feel unsatisfying? Because, at its best, Spectacular Spider-Man was just that, spectacular. “Group Therapy” had an astonishing fight scene that was on par with almost anything I’d seen in Justice League, Avatar or anime action shows. The show also had a knack for mixing the humor, action, drama and romance.

Spec Spidey also has what I like to call the Gift of the Weisman. Plots would surprise you, but it never felt like a cheat, because the groundwork had been laid in previous episodes.

Meanwhile, “Nature versus Nurture” was just good, and when you’re capable of greatness, that’s a bit of a letdown. It’s unfair, but when you keep raising the bar, you also have to jump higher.

Greg Weisman and the creative crew have raised the bar to the extent that they genuinely have to amaze us, and “Nature” just entertained us. It also does not help that this episode had to compete with the raised expectations inherent in a season finale.

That aside, there were several things that deserve kudos. One, I like the way Spidey’s classmates got some rub without taking away from Spidey. Two, I loved the MJ-Gwen swerve. Spidey thought Venom was gunning for MJ, which is reasonable considering previous events, but he actually nabs Gwen. Once again, it’s a surprise that is in no way a cheat (which is much harder than it sounds.) I’m telling you, the Gift of the Weisman.

It was also nice to see at least three slow-burning plots receive resolution: Aunt May’s frantic cooking session receives an explanation. Spidey makes a final decision regarding his “cure.” And the Peter-Gwen stuff, well, that’s icing.

But there were some issues. Eddie Brock’s transition was done well. In fact, this is probably my favorite version of Brock. The others tried too hard to say, “Well, I guess he was always a jerk.” This Brock feels like a guy who’s had a tough life and Spidey dropped the straw that snapped his spine. That having been said, Brock is abandoned at the end of the episode, and I was much more interested in what happened to Eddie then who cleaned up after the Parker Thanksgiving.

Also, quite a bit of Brock’s dialogue bordered on the histrionic. For a character who is supposed to be menacing, I didn’t feel it. The sense of tension was missing, which is disappointing because this creative team could pull it off. They’ve shown that previously.

Which, I suppose, is the difficulty with doing good work. You don’t get compared to other shows. Instead, you compete with your previous work; and it’s impossible to make every episode your best.

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